Education International
Education International

Global action week: equal rights for children with disabilities

published 5 May 2014 updated 16 June 2014

Children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children. The Global Campaign for Education’s action week from 4-10 May 2014 aims to challenge the exclusion faced by disabled children in realising their right to education.

The Global Campaign for Education’s (GCE) new campaign, Equal Right, Equal Opportunity: Education and Disability aims to bring changes to the severe marginalisation of children with disabilities in relation to their right to education. The global action week is a key moment of this campaign that has been running under different themes since 2001.

Globally, an estimated 93 million children, or 1 in 20 of those aged up to 14 years of age, live with a moderate or severe disability. The issue of disability and education is one that has been severely overlooked, but in some countries having a disability can more than double the chance of a child not being in school, compared to their non-disabled peers. For instance, in Burkina Faso, having a disability increases the risk of children being out of school by two-and-a-half times. In Nepal alone, 85% of all children out-of-school are disabled. For those children with disabilities who actually manage to enter classrooms, the quality and form of schooling received can lead to exclusion from the main-stream.

The campaign aims at involving teachers, parents, students and activists to call for action, locally and globally. Some of the demands of the campaign are to:

-          Create legislative frameworks and set out national plans for inclusion

-          Provide resources to implement ambitious national plans on inclusion

-          Improve data on disability and education, and build accountability for action

-          Make schools and classrooms accessible for all

-          Ensure enough appropriately trained teachers for all

-          Challenge attitudes which reinforce and sustain discrimination

Education International’s principles of equality and non- discrimination go in line with the demands of the GCE campaign. “We have to take action to ensure that there is no discrimination based on any grounds, neither in schools nor in society at large”, said EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen.  “EI is determined to promote more supportive teaching and learning environments, where all people are treated with dignity and respect.”

More information:

- Click here to read the Education For All Global Monitoring Report: Disabilities and Education Briefing

- Click here to watch the campaign film Light for the World: It's in your hands - inclusion now

- Click here to watch a video by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova